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    nmw 16:47:41 on 2016/06/17 Permalink
    Tags: , , economy, human capital, , intent, intention, intentional, , , , , ,   

    Rational Media + Literacy 

    In a rather lengthy digression on the “rational media” topic, I wrote some more about my notion of literacy (which includes what other people often refer to as “media literacy”, “computer literacy” or other such special cases — I do not consider them to be special; in my opinion, they need to be included in the general concept of literacy). I also make a distinction between “external technology” and “internal technology” — this is roughly speaking equal to the economic concepts “capital” and “human capital”. You can check out the article here: “The Intention Economy“.

    Regarding rational media, another web site (I bet you haven’t seen those two words written separated by a space in a long time — but then again perhaps you should think more about why I might feel the distinction between “web site” and “website” is important 😉 ) I highly recommend in the context of the intention economy is intent.com (managed by a team of very intentional workers working together with Mallika Chopra).

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    nmw 15:29:59 on 2015/12/19 Permalink
    Tags: , , demand, desirability, desirable, desire, desired, , economy, , , , , , , , , supply, , want   

    Something to Hide: Nothing to Show 

    Many people have something to hide, even though they maintain otherwise. In many if not most cases, people seem to try hiding that theyfeel as if they have nothing to show.

    Let me step back for a moment to explain how this happens. Almost everyone desires someone or something. We think a lot about such people or things – day in an day out. When we hunger or thirst for what we desire, it almost feels painful to not be able to fulfill our wishes. When instead our wishes are satisfied, then we are alleviated and float in a dreamy glut of satisfaction.

    It’s quite easy to see how someone might conclude that it is better to be desired than to desire… – but I think that would be a mistake. You are yourself able to desire, but you have no control whatsoever over your own desirability. You may try to be agreeable, but that only makes you a slave to the desires of others. (See also “Why I’m Not a Leader (and Why You Shouldn’t Be Either)” by Sean Werkema)

    People are afraid – that when they show their hungers and desires, other people might see them as feeble, needy, … and ultimately undesirable. So people try to avoid such perceptions by aiming to be normal instead… – normal and satisfied.

    Indeed, for a rather large number of people (AFAIK the entire population of Buddhists falls into this category), a fixation on being free from want (and/or desire) is central to their entire world outlook. The way I see it, such people refuse to be happy in order to avoid being unhappy. 😐

    I prefer to own my desires. I savor the saliva dripping from my teeth as I bite into a delicious meal. I let my eyes curl and roll over each and every curve in a beautiful woman’s body. I drink profusely the words of wisdom that fall from the lips of wise intellectuals.

    But I do not stop there – why should I stop? I desire, and I also express my desires.

    I do not doubt that others enjoy not only being desirable but also actually being desired. Why should I refuse to give others such satisfaction?

    Some may view this as a power struggle, but I see it as embracing my own passions. And here, finally – perhaps – you may begin to grasp why it is so important for me that people express their own ideas in an authentic manner. Painting a picture of yourself on someone else’s website is of no interest to me. You might be able to create a wonderful image, but that image has no true blood flowing throughout the real flesh of reality… – it is plain and simple fake, inauthentic. It may be big data, but it doesn’t interest me in the slightest.

    I want you to own your own ideas. If you don’t own them – if you just give them away to some big media company – then that means I feel unwilling and/or unable to desire you.

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    nmw 12:26:42 on 2014/12/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , communism, , , economy, free market, , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Communication, Being a Communal Activity, is Community-Oriented — Is to Share an Act of Communism? 

    Sharing is a confusing concept — on the one hand, shares on Wall Street are perhaps the most iconic symbols of far-right capitalism and libertarian ideals, but on the other hand to share information… to present it to someone, apparently free of charge, to give it away into an unknown void seems somehow infected with the perceived polar opposite of private investment activity: Communism. 8O

    Many years over, I have noticed a very strong ambivalence that people who have been indoctrinated with “free market” ideas hold towards sharing information. Never mind, though, that there is no such thing as a free market anywhere — all economic activity is regulated in some shape or form (otherwise, dinosaurs might not ever have gone extinct). The idealistic fantasies of fanatically patriotic folks, however, have their attention dead-set on whatever style of chauvinism happens to be in fashion today — and they are at least as fickle as the wind.

    Nonetheless, decades of indoctrination and centuries of hellfire and brimstone sermons on the sinfulness of sharing private property have filled a sizable body of literature that would put to shame even the most prolific graffiti artists of our day. Wall-to-wall conformity is the dictum of the day, and any and all nonconformists will please move to the exit to disappear out back. Vast numbers of minds have been reduced into well employed machinery, fed scraps with salt so that they are willing to continue oiling the wheels of production — whether of goods or services doesn’t matter much (but note that services have a wonderful way of leaving little or no trace).

    In the ideologies of capitalism, communism is anathema to the prescribed blueprints for profit. “Happy Together” is an anthem of bohemian peasants living in pre-industrial squalor, not a technologically advanced exclusive, walled-off all-inclusive living arrangement.

    One word that must be avoided at all costs is “environment” — any mention of environmental anything is enough to become an outcast from life in the big tent.

    Yet the moist poignant, though not immediately apparent, paradox is how sharing has fared to become so boldly stitched on the flag of the times — and how the most exclusive of actors will ever be able to remove it (or, at least: themselves from any proximity to it). Publicity was all good and fine when it was built with capitalist printing presses, but now someone seems to have let the cat out of the bag. :|

    Disoriented, capitalists no longer know which way to turn. They continue to push advertising, but it no longer sticks — it is about as effective as putting a slab of butter on top of a hot grill. In the olden days, it was much easier to mesmerize consumers into buying stuff by just dangling it in front of their eyes, time and again, over and over… — it worked like a charm!

    Today, capitalism’s “new and improved” is no longer the stardust it once was — it is just another grain of sand trying to compete in a vast desert of dried up content. Trying to sell virtual oases is not quite as easy as novices might think — unfortunately, you cannot make a big profit on a mirage… especially when yet another mirage is just a click away.

    If only there were a way to sprinkle some authenticity on top of some little piece of this undifferentiated landscape. Authenticity itself is the giant hurdle that capitalism cannot seem to muster. The folklore of capitalism operates behind closed doors, in smoke filled rooms around a poker table. Capitalism’s defining moment is the ultimate bluff, not transparent lucidity.

    Today any capitalist can acquire a string of characters that say “fair” and “honest”, but that alone does not guarantee that they are speaking on the same terms that their audience is searching for. Distributed consumer networks can route around bogus promises in a snap. The lexicon itself is no longer controlled by any single institution — whether in Oxford, whether called Webster,… it just doesn’t matter. The murmur of the crowds quickly drowns out whatever property private corporations might wish to invent.

    If, and only if, capitalism is willing to give up on the notion of proprietary language, then it might have a chance to reap profits within what is essentially a communist system. Trying to build a growth business outside the natural commune of communications is nothing more than an exercise in futility.

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    nmw 11:49:54 on 2014/11/27 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , economy, entrepreneur. entrepreneurs. firm, firms, input, inputs, , output, production, , technological,   

    Economic Substitution Revisited: Unraveling the Firm 

    Traditionally, the field of Economics has used something called a “production function” to describe a relationship whereby inputs (in the simplest of models, these might simply be “labor” and “capital”) are turned into outputs (many economists refer to some abstract unit of products or services, such as “widgets”). This transformation is usually assumed to be brought about by an entrepreneur or perhaps some notion of a firm — but this aspect is not normally considered to be an input. Instead, the firm (or the entrepreneur) is rather simply assumed to be an agent of change — and the production function describes the results of this agency.

    I believe this is perhaps a gross oversimplification — and I wonder whether this depiction of what is actually going on in an economy clouds our ability to recognize issues and problems that might arise.

    One example — it’s the one that first started me thinking about this and got me to this idea — is the way one input might be substituted for another (this is a “technological” issue, but the basic idea is that labor and capital can be exchanged for one another [economics is actually quite abstract that way] ). This idea springs from the way in “advanced” economies, one person can use more capital to produce more output than in so-called “underdeveloped” economies (e.g. in agriculture: a large combine plus fuel produces more output per person than rather simple tools used by hand).

    What got me thinking about this was an article I recently read that argued that computer technology may be eliminating skilled labor (rather than labor more characterized as “manual” — even if the less skilled work involved manual skills). The idea in the article was that skilled labor referred to overhead (such as managerial, organizational, analytical skills) might easily be performed by a computer algorithm (for example: computers can tally up data, perform statistical calculations, etc.).

    I wish to entirely sidestep the question of whether computers can actually think (or manage, or organize, or analyze, etc.). Instead, it occurs to me that these are tasks that have — in my opinion — been carried out by the entrepreneur, or by a firm’s leading executives. And then I thought: “Hey, actually individuals can also use computers to replace entire firms”.

    But there is no place in the production function for such an “adjustment” or substitution. This is what leads me to believe that the function of transforming inputs into output actually represents the contribution that the entrepreneur or the firm itself contributes… and that perhaps networked computers can replace entrepreneurs and firms just as much as they can replace “less skilled” workers.

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